Big Bird’s Budget: Obama’s Buddy

Photograph by Warner Bros./Everett Collection

Big Bird on the run in a scene from the movie "Follow That Bird."

President Barack Obama might as well appoint Big Bird as a campaign surrogate.

For a second day on the campaign trail, Obama mocked Republican rival Mitt Romney’s threat in this week’s presidential debate to pull funding from PBS, and by extension the show where Big Bird makes his living, Sesame Street.

“For all of you moms and kids out there, don’t worry, somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird,” Obama said today to laughs and cheers on a college campus in Fairfax, Virginia. “He’s going to let Wall Street run wild again, but he’s going to bring down the hammer down on Sesame Street.”

Obama, who has been criticized by analysts and members of both parties for his debate performance, evoked the yellow-feathered Sesame Street character to rev up the crowd at George Mason University, where nearly 2,000 people filled an amphitheater to watch his remarks. At one point the crowd responded with chants of “P-B-S.”

On another campus yesterday, in another state Obama is fighting for this year,  Obama also courted the Big Bird vote.

“I just want to make sure I got this straight,” the president said of Romney at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. “He’ll get rid of regulations on Wall Street, but he’s going to crack down on Sesame Street….Thank goodness somebody is finally cracking down on Big Bird. Who knew that he was responsible for all these deficits?..  Elmo has got to watch out. ”

All this stems from Romney’s response to a question about cutting the deficit. He’d start by repealing “Obama-care,” Romney said at the debate in Denver, and told debate moderator Jim Lehrer of the Public Broadcasting Service this:

“I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That’s number one.”



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